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I am writing to you from Bhatgam on the Gulf of Cambay. I am taking part in a peaceful march against the unethical tax that the British have placed on salt. Mahatma Gandhi is leading this display of non-cooperation. We departed from Gandhiji’s ashram at Sabarmati on March 12, and we will continue to march until this injustice is repealed. I have been told that we have covered over 150 miles since we began. My feet are blistering and I am fatigued, but my soul is full with the forces of satyagraha and love.
As Gandhi once stated, “The soul is informed with knowledge. In it burns the flame of love. If someone gives us pain through ignorance, we shall win him through love”. Though the British attempt to overcome our efforts to obtain swaraj, we will not concede to their western tyranny. Through fighting for equality of Untouchables and women, the Khadi movement, and satyagraha, Gandhi and his teachings will save us all, and I am supportive of him not only for myself, but for the sake of our family and beloved country.
Gandhi welcomes all with open arms, “whether Muslim, Hindu, or Christian”. He continuously urges everyone, no matter caste, gender, or wealth, to join our movement. It is this inclusivity that will help us attain independence. I myself am a woman, from a lower caste, yet now, under Gandhi, I am allowed to proclaim my opinions and express myself politically. You should see the women I am surrounded with at this time.
They tell stories of how they have picketed liquor shops, collected seawater for salt, picketed toddy shops, and sell salt on the street. They even appear in public without veils! These women fight for swaraj in India though they risk being put in jail. Mother, I urge you to consider joining me in following Gandhi. He is a man of truth, and believes in the strength of women. Not only does he support equality between men and women, but he also aims to diminish caste disparity. Although he was born into a higher caste, Gandhiji has humbly pronounced himself an Untouchable. He devotes his work to integrating Untouchables into society and believes that none of the varnas should be treated as inferior to any of the others.
Gandhiji’s encouragement to wear khadi eradicates distinctions among region, class, or religion, which encourages a cohesive Indian society. If we truly desire to govern our own people, we need to be united as one nation. The British view us as unfit for self-rule due to our diverse clothing styles and beliefs, and khadi will help to undermine and overthrow this argument. As we unite as one and move towards swaraj, our clothing can portray our ability to unify. I spend the majority of my time spinning khadi, just as Gandhi has taught. Though khadi was once associated with prostitutes, widows, and the impoverished, it is now a symbol of our new nation.
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